Researcher Who Stopped WannaCry Ransomware Detained in US After Def Con
Update 1: This indictment may help explain things. Then again, it might not, as the more I read it, the more puzzled I am by the charges.
Joseph Cox reports:
On Wednesday, US authorities detained a researcher who goes by the handle MalwareTech, best known for stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus.
In May, WannaCry infected hospitals in the UK, a Spanish telecommunications company, and other targets in Russia, Turkey, Germany, Vietnam, and more. Marcus Hutchins, a researcher from cybersecurity firm Kryptos Logic, inadvertently stopped WannaCry in its tracks by registering a specific website domain included in the malware’s code.
At the time of writing it is not clear what charges, if any, Hutchins may face.
Read more on Motherboard.
This is astonishing, to say the least. And you may well wonder why U.S. law enforcement keeps arresting people who are actually trying to help keep us all safer. How self-defeating is it for law enforcement to antagonize those with the skills and concern who are trying to help? I don’t know what the FBI believes MalwareTech has done. Maybe this story is just all wrong and Marcus Hutchins hasn’t been detained at all. I hope the story’s inaccurate, although Cox is a very reliable reporter so I suspect he’s got this right. And I’d really like to have respect for the FBI restored. If Hutchins has in fact done something illegal that warranted detention or arrest, let’s hear what it is so we can stop criticizing the FBI unfairly, perhaps.